THE 12 men and women who decided the fate of the three men accused of murdering 26-year-old Alan Lee Street were almost discharged and directions given for a retrial.
The jury in the trial of Peter Leonard, Kieron Davidson and Ian Palmer - the men accused of murdering convicted rapist Alan Lee Street were saved from being discharged from duty four and a half weeks into a five week trial.
If the jury had been discharged the Judge Anthony Russell QC would of had to order a retrial which would of costs the tax payer thousands and thousands of pounds.
The jury had sat at Preston Crown Court for four weeks and three days when the request was made.
They had listened to the full case of the Crown Prosecution and the full defence cases of Leonard and Davison as well as hearing evidence from numerous witnesses and forensic experts. Andrew O’Bryne, the defence barrister for Ian Palmer, asked the jury to give "substantial consideration" to a comment made inadmissible by the court during his closing speech.
He was refering to a comment made by his client to police in an early interview, where Palmer claimed that when Peter Leonard arrived at 29 Stockbridge Road, in Padiham, in the early hours of Saturday 20 December 2008 turned to Alan Street who was said to be still alive and allegedly said "I told you I would get even one day Street."
The request for the dismissal of the jury was made by Peter Leonard’s defence council Mr Anthony Cross QC.
He said: "It is my respectful submission that the jury be dismissed. It was my understanding that the decision made on this statement was that it was inadmissible because it was an allegation about one defendant from another."
Judge Anthony Russell responded to the request by asking Leonard’s defence team if striking the comment would be enough to limit the damage to his case.
Following discussions with Leonard his defence team agreed.
Judge Russell literally saved the trial at the eleventh hour by advising the jury to strike it from their memory and warned them not to use the statement as a basis of making a decision before beginning his summing up.